School Climate & Safety

In Short

January 31, 2001 1 min read

An experiment in two California schools suggests that watching less television cuts down on children’s aggressive behavior.

The study by researchers from the Stanford University Medical Center—who followed 3rd and 4th graders at San Jose elementary schools—examined students who were in a program designed to decrease the amount of television they watch. Researchers then assessed resulting changes in aggressive thoughts and behavior.

The researchers had pupils at one of the schools take television- reduction classes for six months. The youngsters were encouraged to reduce the amount of time they spent watching any television or videos, or playing video games, to seven hours a week during the study.

They were also taught to be more selective about what they watched.

Students at the other school did not take the classes.

At the beginning of the experiment, students in both schools were tested for a baseline of aggressive behavior and thoughts. Behavior was assessed by students’ self-reviews and peer reviews, parent interviews, and direct observation by the researchers.

They found that the control group showed no change in behavior, but that the children taking part in the program showed a significant decrease in aggressive thoughts and behaviors.

John Murray, a professor of developmental psychology at Kansas State University, said the Stanford study’s findings were “very welcome” because they “add to the body of concern that has been expressed about the impact of [television] viewing in general.”

That concern has grown for educators and policymakers across the nation in the wake of violent acts committed by elementary-age children and older students—acts some experts believe were at least partly influenced by the violence they had witnessed on television or encountered in simulations while playing computer games.

— Vanessa Dea

Coverage of research is underwritten in part by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.
Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the January 31, 2001 edition of Education Week as In Short

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Climate & Safety Proms During COVID-19: 'Un-Proms', 'Non-Proms', and Masquerades
High school proms are back in this second spring of COVID-19, though they may not look much like the traditional, pre-pandemic versions.
7 min read
Affton Missouri UnProm
Affton High School students attend a drive-in theater "un-prom" in Missouri on April 18.
Photo Courtesy of Deann Myers
School Climate & Safety Opinion 5 Things to Expect When Schools Return to In-Person Learning
Many schools are just coming back to in-person learning. There are five issues all school communities should anticipate when that happens.
Matt Fleming
5 min read
shutterstock 1051475696
Shutterstock
School Climate & Safety What the Research Says 'High-Surveillance' Schools Lead to More Suspensions, Lower Achievement
Cameras, drug sweeps, and other surveillance increase exclusionary discipline, regardless of actual student misbehavior, new research finds.
5 min read
New research suggests such surveillance systems may increase discipline disparities.
Motortion/iStock/Getty
School Climate & Safety From Our Research Center Rising Numbers of Educators Say Pandemic Is Now Blown Out of Proportion, Survey Shows
An EdWeek Research Center survey shows that nearly 3 of every 10 educators believe the pandemic is no longer a real threat to schools.
4 min read
A sign that reads "SOCIAL DISTANCE MAINTAIN 6 FT" was posted on a student locker at a school in Baldwin, N.Y., at the beginning of the school year. But a new survey shows educators' concerns about the pandemic are declining.
A sign that reads "SOCIAL DISTANCE MAINTAIN 6 FT" was posted on a student locker at a school in Baldwin, N.Y., at the beginning of the school year. But a new survey shows educators' concerns about the pandemic are declining.<br/>
Mark Lennihan/AP